Early school start times are a pretty common thing at secondary schools here in the United States. According to CDC estimates, classes start before 8:30 a.m. in around five out of every six of the nation’s middle and high schools.

However, it could soon be the case that California schools will no longer be allowed to fall into this category. This is because of a bill that California’s legislature recently passed. The bill, if signed into law, would make it so middle and high schools in the state would be banned from starting the school day before 8:30 a.m. The decision of whether or not to sign the bill is now before the governor.

Proponents of the bill argue that moving back school start times could help with decreasing the likelihood of the state’s middle and high school students not getting enough sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep appears to be a very common problem among American students. It is estimated that not getting the recommended amount of sleep is the experience of:

  • 60 percent of U.S. middle school students
  • 70 percent of U.S. high school students

Lack of proper sleep can have many implications for teens. Among these is that it could make a teen much more likely to be drowsy when driving. Tiredness can make a driver much less alert and seriously cut into his or her driving abilities. This can make drivers much more likely to cause accidents. So, how common drowsy driving is among teens can have major impacts on how safe things are in school zones and the roads around them during the school year.

So, traffic safety is among the issues school start times could have impacts on. Do you think that the bill for later start times should be made into law? If it does ultimately become law, what impacts do you think it will have on issues like drowsy driving levels among teens and overall traffic safety in school zones here in California?